Cathal McLaughlin with some of the trophies won by DTC teams in 2016.

Derry Track Club does not normally respond to tittle-tattle and gossip on Facebook  or other social media.  We are too busy training to win stuff!

However, given the malicious and venomous nature of recent posts on the Facebook page of another club in Derry-Londonderry, we wish to make the following facts known in relation to the recent resignations of John-Paul Williamson, Conor Doherty and Matt Doherty.

All three had been absenting themselves from club training since early June 2016.  Whilst JP Williamson had agreed with our coaches to take a break during the summer after four arduous years on an athletics scholarship in the United States, no reason was given by either of the other two for their absence.

We know Matt Doherty took up a job in a bar involving late nights despite advice from the club that this would probably not be conducive to his development as an athlete.  Conor Doherty also started in employment and found it difficult working fulltime and fitting in his training as well.

We expected all three to attend club training from the start of September but this did not happen.  Our chairman at the time was in touch with them on a number of occasions but they refused to attend meetings to ascertain what, if any, the problem was at that time.

Our club captain also diverted from his own programme to train with them in order to promote harmony.  He was told by them as recently as early December that all was well and they were happy within Derry Track Club.

For that reason, we did not expect the Doherty brothers to visit our assistant secretary unannounced at her home after 10:00pm  on Tuesday, December 13.  They intimidated her to sign release forms for themselves and Lucy Appleton, who trained with our club but had never gone through the formalities of joining us.

This third blank clearance form was said to be for Lucy Appleton but was then used for John-Paul Williamson.  We are informed he sat in the car while the Doherty brothers doorstepped our official at such a late hour.

When these forms were presented to Athletics NI and processed by them,  the club contacted John Allen to explain the position.  Given the circumstances i.e. we did not want to retain the membership of anyone who was not happy, we gave him our agreement to let the transfers go through and waive the membership fees due from all three.

Because Williamson had only joined us in January 2016 and could only have one transfer in 12 months, he would have to serve a four month suspension.

As he was also in possession of a valuable club team trophy and had not made any contact with us to return same, two officers of the club visited him at his home on Tuesday, December 27 to recover the cup in question.  He handed this over willingly.

The statement that these athletes were developed by their former, and now current club, City of Derry Spartans does not fit with the facts.

John-Paul Williamson went to the US on an athletics scholarship in August 2012.  He spent four years and did not come home every summer.   Prior to that he was coached by Malcolm McCausland and before going to the US had run 4:04/8:40/15:06 as an U20 under his tutelage – see Power of 10.

Matt Doherty came to DTC in February 2014 as a 2:06/4:19/18:18 (5K road) performer.  He leaves with 1:56/4:07/15:47 credentials.

During his stay, the club has assisted his development by paying for competition in England,  warmweather training in Portugal, free kit and assisted with accommodation costs to go to the national U20 Indoors earlier this year.

We were also instrumental in securing a McAIeese Scholarship to Dublin City University for him which he did not take up for reasons best known to himself.  He has never been asked to pay a penny in membership fees.

Conor Doherty only arrived in early 2016 but in what we thought was a chronically fatigued state that we put down to overtraining at his previous club.  We have had little opportunity to progress his career given this, his new job and social life.

Nevertheless, he has run personal bests at all distances he has contested during his brief sojourn with DTC.

We also confirm that to the best of our knowledge no-one from Derry Track Club has posted under the name of Jonathan McKee on the Facebook page of City of Derry Spartans.

While we agree with the sentiments expressed, we feel that they would bear more weight if not put forward anonymously, if that is indeed the case.  It is our opinion he is a member of the aforementioned club City of Derry Spartans.



11 December 2016

Derry Track Club athletes excelled at the  National Novice a Cross Country Championships in Dundalk putting two athletes on the men’s podium  as well as lifting silver team medals.

On a perfect day for running and excellent underfoot conditions, the DTC women also impressed with a credible ninth place on their first exposure to national competition.

JP Williamson (right) leads the pursuit with Conan McCaughey (left) also in close attendance.

The men’s contest was like Groundhog Day of the Joe Seeley in Belfast two weeks earlier. The inscrutable Scott Rankin once again took the front immediately from the gun only to be run down at the death by the JP Williamson who had shown the same merciless instinct in Ormeau.

And in a continued déjà vu scenario Williamson’s club colleague Conan McCaughey struck late for the individual bronze medal to make it a repeat of the Seeley podium.

Shane McGowan strides out in style for his best ever cross country performance.

Shane McGowan had possibly his best ever performance over the country with an excellent 11th spot which augurs well for next year’s track season.

Despite a late night, Conor Doherty summoned up  the energy to complete the scoring quartet in 32nd place. That earned Derry Track Club runner-up spot of the 19 competing clubs.

Marty Cox (44th), David Gormley (86th), Matt Doherty (108th) and Chris Millar (117th) did not score on this occasion but provided valuable support.

Marina Murphy in full flight.

Marina Murphy led home the women in 26th with newcomer Kendra McMullan continuing to impress in 55th.

Kendra McMullan leads Amy McDaid during the early stages of the race.

Club captain Amy McDaid had a solid run for 69th with Elaine Connor continuing to improve with a 90th place in a high quality race.

The girls placed ninth in the team competition, second Ulster team behind northern champions Letterkenny and ahead of rivals Finn Valley and Lifford-Strabane.



10 December 2016

By Shane McGowan

Derry Track Club’s Conor McIlveen has been called up to the Irish Paralympic Development panel. Following his successes on the track in 2016, the “Big Dog” moves one step closer to competing at the prestigious IPC World Championships in London, come July.

Conor with his gold medal from the IPC Grand Prix in Berlin last summer.

Despite narrowly missing out on selection for the Rio Paralympic Games, the 26 year old wrapped up his track season with a bittersweet 4th place finish in the T38 category at the IPC European Championships in Grosseto, Italy, over the half-mile distance, whilst also achieving big personal bests in the 800m (2:13.60) and 1500m (4:41.33).

McIlveen will draw on his Paralympic dissapointment as motivation for the up-coming IPC World Championships. For the first time, the IAAF and IPC World Championships will run alongside one another and the Derry track man will be hoping to book his ticket to London this summer.

The “Big Dog” will be looking to join fellow Derry athlete, Jason Smyth, in pulling on the Irish singlet and taking to the track with the World’s top Para-athletes in July – this time however, Conor will be aiming to go one better than Grosseto.

Conor’s coach, Malcolm McCausland, has been very pleased with his athlete’s progress on the track but stresses that there is a long way to go before the pair make the team for next year’s IPC World Championships in London. “The little details like diet and stretching are so important and these are areas we’ll be looking to improve in the next two training mezocycles”.

In preparation for London, McIlveen will complete a stint of warm-weather training with the Development squad at the end of March before commencing his 2017 track season.

Conor’s performances in 2016